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Rohit, Murali back in Test Team for Australia tour; Dhoni dropped from T20 squads

Agencies MUMBAI | Updated on October 27, 2018 Published on October 27, 2018

India recall Rohit Sharma (R) and Murali Vijay for Australia test tour. File Photo   -  The Hindu

India have recalled batsmen Rohit Sharma and Murali Vijay to their 18-man test squad for the tour to Australia, opting to bank on experience for the four-match series. Parthiv Patel was chosen as the second wicketkeeper along with the 21-year-old Rishabh Pant, who made his test debut during the five-match series in England.

Rohit has shown strong form in limited overs matches but was dropped from the test side following a poor return in South Africa earlier this year when he scored 78 runs in four innings. Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan opened for India in the first match of the England series but the duo were dropped during the 4-1 defeat and also left out of India's two-test home series against West Indies.

The right-handed Vijay, however, responded to his exclusion by making a hundred and three half-centuries for Essex in the County Championship. “We felt that Rohit's nature of play, a very good back-foot player, his game is suited for Australia,” India's chief selector MSK Prasad told reporters. “Murali Vijay was dropped from the England series. He went back and he played the county and showed his intent and performed and considering the intensity of the series, we've considered him for the Australia series.”

The 18-year-old Prithvi Shaw, who made a sparkling debut with a century against West Indies, and Lokesh Rahul were the other openers in the squad. All-rounder Hardik Pandya, who injured his back during the Asia Cup, has not recovered sufficiently to make to the squad and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja will fill the role in Australia.

“It's very difficult to match Hardik's all-round ability,” Prasad said. “At least we don't see that kind of ability now in India. That's why no other alternatives were discussed. And we expect Bhuvi can come good, we know he can bat.”

India's regular wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha continues to be on the sidelines, recovering from a shoulder and thumb injury, which opened the door again for Patel, who has played 25 tests for India. There was, however, good news on the pace bowling front with India travelling to Australia at full strength with Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav all available.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav will be the slow bowling options alongside Jadeja. “If you see the selection we have done, it's a mix of youth and experience which we really wanted because it's going to be a high-intensity test series,” Prasad said. “That's why we fell back on experience.”

India will play a three-match Twenty20 series before the first test starts in Adelaide from Dec 6. Perth, Melbourne and Sydney will host the remainder of the tests followed by a three-match one-day international series.

Dhoni dropped from the squad

Mahendra Singh Dhoni was dropped from India’s Twenty20 squad for the home series against the West Indies and the crucial away assignment against Australia, signalling a possible end to his run in the shortest format. In the other major decision, skipper Virat Kohli was rested from the T20 series against the West Indies and Rohit Sharma named the stand-in captain of the side.

The committee said that Dhoni, the 2007 World T20-winning skipper, has been “rested” and India are now looking to fill in the second wicketkeeper’s slot. But when asked if Dhoni’s career in T20s is over, Prasad said, “Not yet. We want to try out other keepers for the second keeper’s slot,” said Prasad.

The two keepers in the two T20 squads announced Friday are Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik. The three T20s against Australia will get underway from November 21, followed by a four-Test series and three ODIs. With Dhoni playing only seven T20Is this year and India’s next ODI assignment only in January against Australia, the former captain won’t be getting any domestic matches with both Vijay Hazare and Deodhar Trophy already over.

The 37-year-old, despite being a sharp planner and a safe and agile hand behind the stumps, has been struggling to finish matches with the bat, something that came naturally to him at his peak and made him a modern legend. The decision to “rest” Dhoni might just be the first sign of selectors trying to phase out the maverick former captain in at least one format. A veteran of 93 T20Is, Dhoni has 1487 runs in the format at a strike rate of 127.09.

The only T20Is left in the next six months is a three-game series against New Zealand, which is scheduled in February.

Limited overs squad

In the limited-overs set-up, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem received his maiden call-up for the T20s against West Indies. Fit-again batsman Kedar Jadhav, whose omission from ODIs came under the scanner, has been brought back for the fourth and fifth ODI.

The BCCI has also selected Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Parthiv Patel, Prithvi Shaw for the India A tour of New Zealand.

The Squads: For three T20I match series against West Indies: Rohit Sharma (C), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed, Umesh Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem.

For four-match Test series against Australia: Virat Kohli (C), M Vijay, KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Parthiv Patel, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

For three-match T20I series against Australia: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed.

India A team for first four-day game against New Zealand A: Ajinkya Rahane (C), M Vijay, Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Parthiv Patel (wk), K Gowtham, Shahbaz Nadeem, Md Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, R Gurbani, Vijay Shankar, KS Bharath.

Squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Parthiv Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Published on October 27, 2018
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